Studies & Degrees in Aircraft Maintenance
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In choosing a means of transportation for long distance travel, one would typically go for airplane than ship – if the budget allows for it. For one, although air travel is more expensive, travel period is definitely shorter; and travel period is often a bigger consideration than cost. Likewise, statistics suggests that there are far less air tragedies than sea tragedies. In sea tragedy, however, the likelihood of survival is higher than in air tragedy. It is said that when an airplane encounters an unfixable trouble in mid-air, the possibility of having at least one alive is almost non-existent at all. Since airplane is considered as one of the common carriers, security and safety are non-negotiable.
It is for such considerations that the aircraft industry may be one of those that employ the strictest maintenance standards. To be qualified as Aircraft Maintenance Technician/Engineer, one has to acquire certain certification from authorized certifying body. In the United States, for instance, it is the Federal Aviation Administration that creates the rules for certification, issues certificate for employment, and approves the Aircraft Maintenance curriculum of schools offering this program. Certification is given to those who have passed all written examinations and demonstrated proficiency in different sets of practical examinations. Aircraft Maintenance is a highly technical vocation that is dominated by men.
Aircraft maintenance checks have to be done regularly on all aircrafts following the prescribed amount of time/usage. There are categories of checks, depending on the extent of inspection to be done: (1) A Check is performed monthly or every 500 fight hours and is usually done in an airport gate. The check can be finished overnight; (2) B Check is done quarterly and is usually done in airport gate. The check takes overnight to finish; (3) C Check is done once a year or at most every 1.5 years. This check cannot be done in an airport gate due to larger space requirement; hence, the aircraft is endorsed in maintenance base for long checking. Aircraft endorsed for this check is put out-of-service for days until the check gets completed; (4) D Check is the heaviest, most stringent aircraft check and is done every 4 to 5 years. This is done in maintenance base for longer time than any other checks.
Aircraft Maintenance usually takes about 18 to 24 months of schooling, and this includes hands-on trainings. This is commonly offered in aviation schools. Military schools also cover aircraft maintenance as part of their air force training; and military-trained professionals may use this experience in applying for certification for civilian aircraft mechanic/engineering work. The program covers fundamental knowledge, such as mathematical calculation; Physics; understanding the technical/operational manuals; aviation laws and procedures; technical drawings; ground operations and design of aircrafts; aircraft quality control; hydraulics; and fuel, electrical, and mechanical systems.
Aircraft Maintenance Technician/Engineer is responsible for inspecting or supervising maintenance procedures, conducting preventive maintenance procedures, and repairing or altering defective aircraft and aircraft systems. They get to recommend replacing certain parts of the aircraft if found defective. They can even make a call to phase out or scrap aircrafts that are found unsuited for further utilization. Relying in the hands of these professionals is the safety of thousands of flight passengers everyday.